Company fined after worker trapped in machine

Wednesday, 11 May, 2022

Company fined after worker trapped in machine

A company manufacturing die casting moulds for motor vehicles in Dandenong has been fined $20,000 after a worker was seriously injured inside a machine. Centre Tooling Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide, as far as was reasonably practicable, a safe working environment. The company was convicted and fined $20,000 and ordered to pay costs of $2509.

The incident occurred in September 2020, when a worker went into the operational area of a milling machine and became entangled in a rotating machine. The worker sustained a collapsed throat, punctured lungs, a broken sternum and ribs, severe liver laceration, a shoulder tear and dislocation, and major burns.

An investigation by WorkSafe Victoria revealed that it was reasonably practicable for Centre Tooling to install an interlock system on the operator’s door, meaning the door would not open if the spindle was rotating and the spindle would not rotate if the door was open. The machine’s front access door reportedly had an interlock system, but the operator’s door did not have a similar feature.

In a separate hearing, the company’s managing director was granted a diversion with a number of conditions, including donating $2000 to the Alfred Hospital Intensive Care Unit, writing a letter of apology to the injured worker and completing a Certificate IV in Work, Health and Safety.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Dr Narelle Beer said there was no excuse for employers who don’t prioritise workplace health and safety.

“If you’re running a business in Victoria, it’s your responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, and WorkSafe won’t hesitate to take action against employers who fail to do so. The horrific injuries this worker sustained could have been avoided if the company had equipped all machine doors with proper safety systems,” said Beer.

To manage the risks when working with machinery, employers should identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them, and eliminate or control these risks by isolating them or using an alternative. Employers should also manage risks by training staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment, and provide written procedures in the worker’s first language.

WorkSafe also advises employers to develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives, with machines and equipment to be serviced and maintained regularly. Safety guards and gates must be compliant and fixed to machines at all times, with signs on or near each machine to alert employees to the dangers of operating it.

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